Review – A Tale of Paper
“An emotional adventure of a paper boy who will use origami to fulfil the dream of his creator.” A Tale of Paper is a 3D platform adventure by the very small Barcelona based team at Open House Games. While it truly is both beautiful and creative, I just kept thinking that I’ve played this before. Maybe in part Limbo, maybe Little Nightmares , but especially a little Unravel. However, I just kept feeling like I never “got” the emotional message, unknown mystery, or creepiness like in these other games.
In very Pinocchio fashion, A Tale of Paper starts off with what seems to be your origami alien doll come to life inside a vacated home. Platforming your way through each room, you learn to control the game and how it plays. You’ll also learn how to transform your paper hero into other origami pieces: a frog, a plane, or my personal favorite growing up, an origami crumpled up ball. Using all their abilities, you solve puzzles while avoiding cute traps like an occasional Roomba or puddle of water.
From home, to sewers and spiders, to neighboring rooftops, your cute protagonist slowly escapes from somewhere? Makes his way to somewhere? I don’t honestly know. This is where A Tale of Paper mostly loses me. I never quite understand what I am doing or why I am doing it. All I know is that I simply am. Right up to the point of taking off in some rocket ship, I never understood what emotion I was meant to be feeling. I know there is an emotional feeling I should be having, I just don’t know which or why. Speaking of which, why the hell did I get in a rocket ship?
As lost as I was with how the game just ended, I was equally lost when it turned out that wasn’t the end of my paper tale. No, A Tale of Paper would continue for a new origami doll, new settings, and new origami shapes.
The biggest concerns one might have with their tale, would be length of game and difficulty to tell the draw distance between North and South platforming. To touch on the platforming frustration first, it would be frustratingly inconvenient to judge exactly where your character was in relation to platforming depth on the screen. This was an issue on more than a couple occasions.
At what couldn’t have been more than two hours, A Tale of Paper is short. But it is also priced accordingly for its experience. For me, personally, I mark this as a positive because not every game needs to be eight to twelve hours, much less thirty to fifty hours. Like it, dislike it, it is just good to know that your tale may just be for a single evening. Even with the ability to go back and start from each chapter for collectibles, I can’t see that being used for much more than a trophy cleanup.
Without a doubt, A Tale of Paper is beautiful to look at, as the team outdid itself in presentation and feel. The levels are cleverly designed to take advantage of the mechanics. No puzzles felt shoehorned simply to force the origami shape gameplay. Level design changed up just enough to highlight certain mechanics to make sure nothing got too repetitive. Open House Games really showed a lot of patience and love for the game.
There is no dialog, spoken or otherwise, instead playing like a silent movie. The ambient sounds and the faint orchestral background music work well, but is otherwise nothing I strongly picked up on one way or the other. It doesn’t make the experience, but it doesn’t remove from it either.
I can’t say that I disliked A Tale of Paper. In fact, I can very much say that I enjoyed my short experience. I just didn’t get it. I didn’t get the why, I didn’t get the where, I didn’t get the who. It is a solid game that, on paper, just isn’t as memorable as those that have come before it.
A beautiful and creative world with a lot of care and polish paid to it.
Gameplay is solid if not safe. Very creative tools used to maneuver through the world.
Not much to say; silent, sans dialog, mostly ambient sounds with subtle orchestic background.
Fun Factor: 7.0
Minus some frustrating depth issues, the game is solid and stays interesting through it’s two hours.
Final Verdict: 7.5
A Tale of Paper is available now on PS4 and PC.
Played on the PS4.
A copy of A Tale of Paper was provided by the publisher.